Toronto, Canada’s Corus Entertainment is taking a virtual leap into the universe of massive multi player online games (MMOG) with a new project code-named Constellation.
The parent company of Nelvana Enterprises and Canuck kidcaster YTV will enter the world of on-line gaming with the help of Quebec City-based technology house Firma Studios. A beta version of the project launches next month while the full-scale launch is expected to follow suit in early 2007.
The popularity of gaming on YTV’s website – which hosted 17 million gameplays in the first 10 months of 2006 – along with YTV Tween Report research that reconfirmed tweens’ love of on-line games, prompted the initiative. Corus has since set an ambitious course to create the largest MMOG network in North America for its kids audience.
The apparatus will include a number of on-line worlds where users will be able to play games, compete and chat with other users, collect information and interact with their surroundings. The plan is for the environments to be secure, monitored, and above all kid-friendly. Access to the game will be free for all users with revenue being derived from sponsorship and in-game advertising.
‘It will be a living game,’ says Lucie Lalumiere, VP and general manager of interactive for Corus Television.
Details surrounding just how many different worlds there will be when the project launches are still under wraps. However, Lalumiere did say many YTV and Nelvana properties would have their own branded on-line environments with multiple tie-ins to popular on air properties.
What separates this initiative from other kid-targeted MMOGs that have been springing up in the last few months, is that it will act as a hub and permit users to create their own avatar that is capable of jumping from world to world without losing any points or virtual possessions scored previously.
Expect a cross-platform promotion of the project on YTV websites and on-air programming, as well as through other Corus non-kid channels to begin in the new year.
‘Television is a very strong medium for reaching tweens and so we are going to use that to direct people to the game and vice versa,’ Lalumiere says.